Citizen Reporter
Reporter
2 minute read
8 Jul 2016
10:46 am

‘Miles Ahead’ is wildly entertaining

Citizen Reporter

Working from a script he co-wrote with Steven Baigelman, Oscar nominee Don Cheadle makes his bravura directorial debut.

'Miles Ahead' features a career-defining performance by Oscar nominee Don Cheadle in the title role. Picture: Ster-Kinekor

Inspired by events in the life of Miles Davis, Miles Ahead is a wildly entertaining, impressionistic, no-holds barred portrait of one of the 20th century’s jazz creative geniuses. It features a career-defining performance by Oscar nominee Don Cheadle in the title role. Working from a script he co-wrote with Steven Baigelman, Cheadle makes his bravura directorial debut.

In the midst of a dazzling and prolific career at the forefront of modern jazz innovation, Davis (Cheadle) virtually disappears from public view for a period of five years in the late ’70s.

Alone and holed up in his home, he is beset by chronic pain from a deteriorating hip, his musical voice stifled and numbed by drugs and pain medications, his mind haunted by unsettling ghosts from the past.

A wily music reporter, Dave Braden (Ewan McGregor) forces his way into Davis’s house and, over the next couple of days, the two men unwittingly embark on a wild and sometimes harrowing adventure to recover a stolen tape of the musician’s latest compositions.

After several setbacks, including one of the largest recessions in global history, Cheadle’s Miles Ahead finally locked down partial financing before turning to IndieGoGo to raise the funds to make up for the shortfall.

Picture: Ster-Kinekor

Picture: Ster-Kinekor

The stop-and-start financing, however, was not the only hurdle for the low-budget project. Many of Cheadle’s co-stars in the film, including McGregor, Michael Stuhlbarg and Emayatzy Corinealdi, had limited windows of availability before they had to depart for other commitments.

“We only had Ewan and Michael for three weeks and Emayatzy for three weeks, so we had to complete all their sequences in the film during that period,” says Cheadle.

In addition to being a first-time director, Cheadle is also in every scene in the film, so his preparation had to be meticulous and he needed a top-flight crew. In addition to producer Pamela Hirsch and her producing partner Lenore Zerman, the team included director of photography Roberto Schaefer and production designer Hannah Beachler.

Watch trailer: